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Here’s to Your E-Health
by Kathryn Lurie

The Internet provides simple, easy-to-use tools to live a healthier lifestyle

 

These days, where do you go to research what that new mole on your arm might mean? Or how you can most effectively sculpt your calves? Or find out how many calories a doughnut actually has? The doctor? The library? Don’t be ridiculous. People don’t have time for all that nonsense. People need quick answers, easy solutions, and health information that’s only a click away. Here are eight Web sites that, if used appropriately, will help you to live a healthier life.

The Self Challenge

www.self.com/challenge

A few years ago, Self magazine started a fitness program they call the Self Challenge. It has proved useful for hundreds of women, and even some men, over the years. The (free!) program consists of effective workouts and suggested menus that will help you to obtain a healthier, better body. Tools on the Self Challenge Web site include workout logs that calculate how many minutes you’ve exercised and how many calories you’ve burned, a food diary to record your calorie intake, and forums where you can chat with other Self challengers and even find a local workout buddy. Plus, there are daily helpful hints and prizes to win all the time. They’ll even send text messages to your cell phone with nifty healthy-living tips!

Calorie King

www.calorieking.com

Speaking of fitness, if you’re wondering exactly how many calories (and how much fat, how many carbs, and how much sodium) are in your morning Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, you can find out at Calorie King. This Web site’s mission is “to help reverse the continuing unhealthy American trend toward obesity, diabetes, and other undesirable health conditions.” Not only do they have nutritional information for most foods available at chain eateries across the country, they also have a ton of useful tools, including (just to name a few) information on how to cut calories in cooking, health and nutrition quizzes to test your knowledge, BMI (body mass index) calculators, support forums and blogs.

All Recipes

www.allrecipes.com

When you find yourself in a situation where all you have in your cupboard is a can of coconut milk, and you have no idea what to do with it, All Recipes can help. This cooking Web site lets you search by (among other things) meal, available ingredients, or genre (kosher, diet, low-carb or vegetarian, for example). Visitors contribute their own recipes, and rate and comment on other ones. Also, you’re able to build your own electronic cookbook, where you can collect your favorite recipes. For the math-impaired, the site will calculate how much more or less ingredients you’ll need to double or half the recipe. And most importantly, the recipes include nutritional information.

Weight Watchers

www.weightwatchers.com

Weight Watchers is a tried-and-true diet program that provides coaching to help you lose weight, and support meetings to track your progress. The Web site provides an Internet companion to help you stay focused on your weight and health goals in-between meetings. The site also provides an electronic Weight Watchers points tracker, and smart solutions for diet-ruining cravings.

WebMD

www.webmd.com

I’m not saying that a visit to this Web site can replace a visit to your real-life doctor, but for minor aches and pains, and general health info, this site is the place to go. It can even help you decide if a trip to the doc is really necessary. WebMD can help to diagnose worrisome symptoms, and it provides interactive checkups (answer questions and they’ll provide you with a clinical summary of your responses and a take-action plan). Also, use this site for researching medicines, tests and diseases—they’re organized in efficient A-through-Z listings.

American Heart Association

www.americanheart.com

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans, plain and simple. The American Heart Association has lots of vital information to help prevent you and your loved ones from becoming part of that statistic. Learn everything from how to recognize symptoms of a heart attack and how to keep your blood pressure low to how heart disease affects men and women differently and how to evaluate whether your lifestyle is heart-healthy. Also, the AHA Web site provides information on how to volunteer, which is good for the body and the soul.

BBC Health

www.bbc.co.uk/health

Get the latest news and health information, along with health calculators, online courses, medical advice and quizzes, from the BBC’s health-specific Web site.

Quit Meter

www.quitmeter.com

For those of you trying to kick your nasty smoking habit, this is an extremely useful tool. Just enter the time, day, and date you quit, along with how many cigarettes you regularly smoked and how much money you spent on them, and this Web site will automatically tell you how long it’s been since you had a smoke, and how much money you’ve saved (is there anything more motivating than that?). Set Quit Meter as your homepage for a daily reminder of how well you’re doing not smoking.

All of the above Web sites are free to visitors with the exception of Weight Watchers, which only costs money if you decide to become a member.


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